Feb
28

Self Promotion: The Blogging Basics

By Express Zenovka  //  BootCamp, SLife  //  No Comments

One thing I mentioned in my last post but didn’t cover is how SL residents can self promote their content. It’s a bit of a large topic, and wasn’t directly related to feeds so I decide to split it into is own little post.

A caveat before I start: nothing here is guaranteed. I haven’t conducted any experiments nor looked at any numbers to come up with this. These are the tools and methods I would tell Luna to use if she weren’t already doing them.

General Guidelines

Self promotion is a tricky thing. Always consider how other people look at your actions. What may seems reasonable to you might be considered spam by someone else. Sharing too much or too often can drive the very same people you’re trying to gather away.

Presentation also matters. Being unique and distinctive can be a good thing, but too much and you alienate a potential audience.

In general, you’re looking for a way to tap into existing communities. You want to go where Second Life residents are and make them interested in your content.

Flickr

A picture is worth one thousand words, so use pictures to say a lot. Most people are visual creatures so an eye catching image can go a long way. On the flipside, walls of text (like this post) tend to scare people away.

Flickr may seem redundant these days because services like WordPress.com offer similar features like image hosting and resizing, but Flickr isn’t just about images, but the Second Life community on Flickr.

When you upload to Flickr, make sure you add the relevant groups. For bloggers the Second Life group is almost always applicable. Notable execeptions would be product shots (which might violate the Flickr TOS, so be careful) and mature content (its a PG group – there are a few mature ones you can find if you want). A lot of brands have their own Flickr groups as well. If you are a content creator, make sure you let people know about your group. If you are using someone else’s product, creators love to know and adding it to the group is a good way to do so.

This works in reverse too – do you want to find products of a certain type? Look for a related group in Flickr to help. Off the top of my head, I know I’ve skimmed through the surfing and steampunk groups before.

A caveat for content creators: Flickr community guidlines explicitly say “don’t use Flickr to sell.” Here are some guidelines I tend to follow:

  • don’t put prices on your Flickr images
  • don’t link to the SL Marketplace from flickr
  • do link to your blogpost/plurk for the release

Plurk

Yes, there’s G+, Twitter, Facebook, etc. But Second Life seems have to chosen Plurk, so Plurk is a good place. That said, plurk is a bit of a firehose too. Most residents have a few hundred Plurk friends and your stuff can get drowned in the noise. I usually have to tell Luna to look at my Plurk timeline if I want her to see something.

If you post responsibly and provide a good eye catch (back to the whole picture thing) people tend to click through. A lot of people like to click on links to images.

Some residents like to user Facebook and Twitter too, so feel free to maintain those as well. But Plurk is a much larger win.

Blog

Most of these don’t matter if you’re already using WordPress or Blogger, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure.

Make sure you have an RSS or Atom feed. WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr all support these out of the box. If there’s an option to enable subscribe by email, go for that too. Giving people options isn’t a bad thing, and even if nobody uses it doesn’t cost you anything.

Don’t truncate posts on your RSS feed unless you are absolutely positive people will click through. Reading feeds in an RSS reader is a choice – don’t expect users to click through to your blog just for your personal stats.

If you’re not a blogger, but a content creator, then create a blog. Just put new products up as you make them, with relevant links to the marketplace or your store inworld. If you’re releasing a bunch of things at once, put them all together in a single post or space out your posts over a few days.

Something worth mentioning is that tagging and categories are very important. Under the covers, they are basically the same thing: categories are tags with hierarchy. Putting a post in a subcategory doesn’t automatically put your post in the main category, so I tend to stick with a flat category hierarchy. Adding those tags your blog post will help others find it with relevant keywords.

Content

Most important, however, is the content. People want new content and they want good content. So keep creating and keep improving, and eventually the followers/fans will come.

Part of what makes good content good is that the intended audience receives and appreciates it.

Feeds

I already said my piece about feeds, but I know plenty of bloggers still want to be syndicated. Here’s a bit of information to help you choose feeds wisely.

Most of the current feeds use WordPress as a backend and are (literally) reblogging your blog content themselves. This doesn’t make Google very happy. They now need to determine which is the original and which is the copy, and both the source and aggregator get dinged via PageRank.

But, there are ways to help fix this. First off, make sure that any post on the feed links back to your post. There is always an internal copy of the post on the feed, but make sure normal people don’t get to see it (more on that later).

Next, stick with feeds that only show part of your post. Feeds get their data from your RSS/Atom feed, so they should have access to your full post (especially to pass it on to others via their own syndication). But, they don’t need to display the full post on their page – this will make the only “full” source of the content online your own site.

Both of these are pretty easy to do without much work, and every feed owner should be able to do them.

The next issue is a lot more important to me, but unfortunately next to none of the feeds do it. Go to Google and do a site search of your favorite feed. Just type in “site:” followed by the url of the site. So, this site would be “site:lunajubilee.com”. Skim through those results and see if any look like individual posts. If you see any, try to click through to the page. You’ll probably find a copy of the post without a link to the source.

Just because you cannot find it from the homepage doesn’t mean the page isn’t there. Feed owners should not be submitting your content to search engines as part of their content. And, even if they do, they can use 301 redirects to the original content to make sure that the information gets changed. But, this means that the feed will not have as much content to offer Google and suffer in search results, so most feed owners avoid doing that. By not doing it, they are boosting their standings at the expense of the bloggers they syndicate.

If a feed does all of the above, feel free to join it. And if some content creator asks you how many feeds you’re on, feel free to send them this way.

Leave a comment

Subscribe

Enter your email address to subscribe to LunaJubilee.com and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Flickr

Roy Tanck's Flickr Widget requires Flash Player 9 or better.

Get this widget at roytanck.com

Archives